St. James Cathedral : Michelin's recommendations
St. James Cathedral's Baroque style is obvious when you see its concave façade, flanked by two towers, topped by a great dome. Listen to the wonderful Austria or Peace chimes sounding from the North Tower at 12. 15 p.m. every day. The first church was built here in 1180, then fires and earthquakes destroyed successive buildings, before the Cathedral received its present form at the beginning of the 18th century. The interior is vaulted with three flattened nave domes and a dome with a lantern in the choir. These were decorated in 1722, by two famous artists from Munich, the painter Cosmas Damian Asam and his brother, the stucco worker Egid Quirin. Their compositions honour St. James and the Trinity, with effects of perspective that give the impression that each dome is far deeper than it actually is. Above the high altar, Our Lady of Succour (Mariahilf), by Lucas Cranach, is still fervently revered. Archduke Leopold, who received it from the Elector of Saxony, took it with him everywhere. It was placed in the Cathedral not long after his death, in 1650. You can see another masterpiece in the left transept arm of the edifice. It is the canopied mausoleum of another Habsburg; Archduke Maximilian, brother of two emperors and Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, who died in 1618. The bronze Mannerist decoration was restored in 1950. It adds a note of gravity which contrasts with the decorative exuberance of the Baroque pulpit and organ.
Opening hours :
- May-Oct: 10.15am-7.30pm, Sun 12.30pm-7.30pm; rest of year: 10.15am-6.30pm, Sun 12.30pm-6.30pm
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